Multinationals and Human Rights
South Africa: €20,000
Through the support of Bishops’ Appeal, Christian Aid were able to finance a communication’s officer/journalist to raise awareness of human rights abuses and environmental abuses by mining companies in South Africa.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu was one of the founders of Bench Marks and the Church continues to play a key role through their involvement with the Board. The current Chairperson of the Bench Marks Foundation is Rt Rev Dr Jo Seoka, Anglican Bishop of Pretoria.
The mandate of the Bench Marks Foundation is to monitor the operations of large corporations and to speak out against practices that violate community rights which are destructive to the environment.
- BMF will collect stories and strengthen the voice of marginalised communities in local media, radio and social media outlets.
- BMF will strengthen its own voice of in local media, radio and social media outlets.
- BMF will maintain its media profile against a backlash of conservative mainstream media rooting itself in South Africa.
BMF in action
The Benchmarks Foundation has been raising awareness of an area called Riverlea which is in a mining area located close to the World Cup Stadium.
The land in this area has been destroyed, some organisations have been running programmes where crops are being grown, but they are terribly polluted – cabbages from this area have been reported to have levels of radioactivity 2000 times higher than normal due to the water pollution.
The sign you see in the photograph opposite is from Ranfontein, Tudor Village, an area home to between 2000-3000 people. Radioactivity levels in this area are higher than in Chernobyl. Adjacent to the village is a lake that looks clear but is deadly polluted. Benchmarks have been campaigning for the mine company to drain the mine and erect fencing and signage.
Since this position was funded, the mines in South Africa, and their detrimental affect have been getting more national and international attention:
This Guardian article reports on the work of Bench Marks in responding to radioactivity in townships in Johannesburg because of the number of abandoned uranium mines: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/jul/06/radioactive-city-how-johannesburgs-townships-are-paying-for-its-mining-past